Conference 16.-17.05.2024

‘Theory-Making and Methodologies at the Intersection of Mobility and Institutions: Perspectives from and on the Global South’

The next Research Unit 5183 conference ‘Theory-Making and Methodologies at the Intersection of Mobility and Institutions: Perspectives from and on the Global South’ will take place in May 2024 in Cologne. Invited speakers: Robel Afeworki Abay (Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences), Snehanjali Chrispal (Monash University), Cyriaque Hakizimana (University of Western Cape) , Laavanya Kathiravelu (Nanyang Technological University), Jill Kelly (Southern Methodist University), Habibul Khondker (Zayed Universität), Rijk van Dijk (University of Leiden), Edda Willamowski (Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg). Keynote: Oliver Bakewell (University of Manchester).

See program

Workshop 29.-30.04.2024

‘Research Ethics & Participatory Research’

Prof Dr Hella von Unger conducted a two-day workshop with Research Unit members engaged in Working Package III (methodological reflection and methodological research) at The Global South Studies Center (GSSC) in Cologne. Hella von Unger is professor of sociology specializing in qualitative methods of empirical social research at Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. In her workshop she provided an interactive setting to delve into ethical and methodological considerations within participatory research. Professor von Unger, renowned for her contributions to qualitative research, sociology of health and illness, as well as migration studies, guided attendees through discussions on analytical, methodological, and ethical dilemmas inherent in their research projects. Research Unit members had the opportunity to reflect on and address pertinent issues, fostering a deeper understanding of ethical practices and methodological rigor within their academic pursuits.

Workshop/Training 19.-20.01.2024

‘Critical Diversity & Intersectionality’

Led by Dr Cassandra Ellerbe, the Research Unit’s Young Scholars held a two-day workshop in January 2024 on ‘Critical Diversity & Intersectionality’ in Siegen. Dr Ellerbe holds a PhD in Comparative Cultural Studies/Anthropology from the University of Ghent and specializes in Women and Gender Studies, the Black Diaspora in Europe and German Postcolonial Studies. Her academic interests have been foundational to her organizing trainings, workshops and other initiatives related to the areas of diversity, anti-discrimination and social justice. Dr Ellerbe’s sensitization seminar included various interactive exercises and aimed at expanding the awareness and competencies of the Research Unit’s young scholars in the areas of antidiscrimination, critical diversity and intersectionality.

Roundtable 30.10.2023

‘Towards Transregional Perspectives on Migration, Mobility, and Institutions’

Current debates on migration and mobility across world regions occasionally challenge prevailing theoretical concepts in the social sciences. One element of this critical engagement relates to theories on migration and mobility, which at least implicitly claim a universal range, although they are derived from a geographical focus on areas and regions in the Global North (i.e., North America and Western Europe) where they commonly originate. Against this backdrop, critical voices have emerged that seek a transformative change in theorizing migration and mobility including those institutions which foster, control, and restrict mobility and migratory processes. In this broader context, the question is raised how to better account for geographical spaces in the Global South in ‘general’ theory-building about migration, mobility, and institutions. The proposed roundtable aims to initiate scholarly discussions on how to develop transregional perspectives in the context of theorizing migration, mobility, and related institutions.

Invited Speakers: Prof Dr Adrian Favell (University College Cork), Dr Rose Jaji (German Institute of Development and Sustainability), Prof Dr Habibul Khondker (Zayed University) and Prof Dr Anja Weiß (University of Duisburg-Essen).

Workshop 12.09.2023

‘Considerations of Intersectionality in Mobility-Related Organizations’

On the initiative of subproject 1, members of the Research Unit met online with Dr Masauso Chirwa, head of the Department of Social Work and Sociology at the University of Zambia (UNZA), for an online workshop on ‘Considerations of Intersectionality in Mobility-Related Organizations’. In the first session Dr Chirwa – whose research interests include disability, gender, social protection, and migration/mobility – gave a presentation on ‘Gender-Sensitive Labour Migration and Mobility: A Case of Zambia’. The presentation was based on a study commissioned by the Zambian government and the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) to facilitate a national strategy on labour migration. The second session, informed by Dr Chirwa’s insights, aimed at discussing the intersections (especially) of the social categories of gender and disability in the research groups’ subprojects. Based on empirical fieldwork, the workshop participants agreed that different interpretations or understandings of ‘dis-ability’ are relevant to the Research Unit’s subprojects, ranging from an understanding as a physical or mental impairment to abled-bodiedness or physical attractiveness.

Workshop 11.09.2023

‘Intersectionality: Where Method, Theory, and Empirical Insights Converge’

In a collaborative effort led by the Research Unit’s Work Package III (‘methodological reflection and methodological research’) and its Young Scholars initiative, members of the research group conducted an internal (and hybrid) workshop in Cologne on ‘Intersectionality: Where Method, Theory, and Empirical Insights Converge’. This one-day event brought together representatives from all subprojects. Building on the ongoing activities of the Research Unit‘s intersectionality reading group, which has been active since the beginning of 2023, workshop participants aimed to work towards a joint publication which will spotlight the various ways in which each subproject has conceptualised intersectionality, employed it as a method, and applied it in the analysis of its empirical cases. During the workshop’s morning session, participants discussed various draft papers which had been previously circulated, led by a discussant who was assigned to each paper. Building on this, the afternoon session was dedicated to brainstorming the various methods, means, and platforms for consolidating individual contributions into one or more published works.

Symposium 25.-26.05.2023

Migration Studies Meet Institutional Research: Theoretical Interfaces’

Institutions play a significant role in the formation, development, and monitoring of transborder mobility, just as there are implications of mobility for the existence and transformation of institutions. Nevertheless, current debates often independently pursue perspectives on different types of transborder mobilities on the one hand and institutions (frequently conceived as immobile or territorially and nation-state anchored) on the other. The two-day symposium of the DGF Research Unit 5183 ‘Transborder Mobility and Institutional Dynamics’ seeks to bring together these often-separated discourses, drawing on presentations by invited speakers and subproject members.

Invited Speakers: Prof Dr Antje Ellermann (University of British Columbia), Prof Dr Sebastian Koos (University of Konstanz), Prof Dr Patricia H. Thornton (Texas A&M University) and Prof Dr Anja Weiß (University of Duisburg-Essen)

On May 24th, 2023, one day prior to the international symposium, Prof Dr Antje Ellermann and the Research Unit organized a workshop which allowed the research group’s Young Scholars to learn more about the Migration Studies Centre at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada). Following a presentation by Prof Ellermann, she and Research Unit members discussed common epistemological, theoretical, and methodological challenges, scholars at both institutions face.

Research Unit Meeting 27.-28.10.2022

‘Migration Research meets Institutional Research: Theoretical Perspectives and Intersections’

The Research Unit 5183 came together on October 27th and 28th 2022 for a two-day meeting to discuss the following topic: ‘Migration Research meets Institutional Research’. Prof Dr Anja Weiß (University of Duisburg-Essen) gave a guest lecture on ‘Migration Research and Institutions’ and discussed some of the Research Unit’s key concern with its members. In addition, the Research Unit’s subprojects reported on their ongoing research and outlined in which ways they combine theoretical perspectives from mobility and migration research as well as institutional research.

June-July 2022

‘Mercator Fellow visits Siegen’

In June and July 2022, the research unit’s Mercator Fellow, Prof Dr Habibul H. Khondker who is based at Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, UAE, visited Siegen. As part of his fellowship, Prof Dr Khondker, whose research interests include social inequality, globalization, migration governance, sport, and new media, organized a two-day workshop on the topic of ‘Transborder Mobility and Institutional Dynamics in the Global South’ at the University of Siegen in mid-June. In addition, he discussed methodological challenges in the field with several Young Scholars (postdoctoral researchers, Ph.D., and graduate students) in an online workshop in early July as well as on other occasions and participated in a workshop at the Global South Studies Center (GSSC) at the University of Cologne, organized by Prof Dr Michaela Pelican and her research team (sub-project 3) in mid-July.

Workshop 04.05.2022

‘Institutional Dynamics and Mobility in Southern Africa’

At the end of April 2022 subproject 1 (‘Mobility and Institutions of Intermediary Rule in Southern Africa’) welcomed Prof Dr Rijk van Dijk (African Studies Centre, Leiden University) for a two-week guest stay at the Global South Studies Center (GSSC) in Cologne. As part of this stay, PD Dr Mario Krämer organised a hybrid workshop on ‘Institutional Dynamics and Mobility in Southern Africa’ with members of the Research Unit and colleagues from the Global South Studies Center on May 4th, 2022. Members of subproject 1 had the opportunity to present their research projects and to discuss with Prof Dr Rijk van Dijk his research on mobility and institutional dynamics in Botswana.


  • Introduction of Research Unit ‘Transborder Mobility and Institutional Dynamics’ [transMID] (Mario Krämer)
  • ‘Chieftaincy, neotraditional networking and (transborder) mobility in Southern Africa’ (Mario Krämer)
  • ‘Chieftaincy and intra-institutional mobility in Zambia’ (Laura Pargen)
  • ‘Institutional social mobility: the case of marriage in Botswana’ (Rijk van Dijk)
  • General discussion

Workshop/Training 17.-18.03.2022

‘Doing research with vulnerable persons: awareness-building and (self-)reflexivity’

The Research Unit’s first internal (online) workshop took place on March 17th and 18th 2022. Dr Dima Zito who holds a PhD in Human and Social Sciences and is a social worker led the event which focussed on ‘Doing research with vulnerable persons: awareness-building and (self-)reflexivity’ and its methodological and ethical applications.

Workshop zoom Doing research with vulnerable persons: awareness-building and (self-)reflexivity